Berners-Lee, Father of the Web, Confronts His Creation in the Era of Fake News

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Tim Berners-Lee's concerns during the web’s first 25 years focused on expanding access to more people. But now he thinks the web has become as complex and intricate as a human brain—so the tech industry requires a multi-disciplinary approach to “look out for unintended consequences” and study the impact of services as they are introduced to the world. The big tech companies, he said, “need to find engineers and people of all kinds of disciplines who can help you figure out and simulate what will happen if you turn these systems on.” But too often web companies just plow ahead without understanding the consequences. He criticized the likes of Google, Facebook, and Twitter  for creating advertising systems that, for example, incentivized fake-news purveyors in Veles, Macedonia, “who learned that if you tweet something which is wrong, and put an article with a fake headline on your site, you will get more clicks and more ad revenue. They didn’t do that out of malice. They did it completely commercially, not even caring about who won the election. … But Google gave them money [to do it], and that trained them to think of headlines like, ‘Hillary really wants Trump to win.’”


Berners-Lee, Father of the Web, Confronts His Creation in the Era of Fake News